Justin Moore Unleashes New Album, ‘Stray Dog:’ ‘I’m Really Proud Of It’
The title track has become an “autobiographical anthem” for Moore.
Justin Moore; Photo by Cody Villalobos
Justin Moore has made it abundantly clear that he strives to build a life and career based on authenticity. This means paving his own path and sticking to what’s best for him instead of conforming to the current trends as a way to further his career. However, in doing so, this often leads the country singer to feel outcasted among his peers in the music industry, which he illustrates in his new full-length album, Stray Dog.
Available now via The Valory Music Co., the 8-track release makes country music proud with the encaptivating melodies and powerful storytelling that taps into romance on “With A Woman You Love,” lighthearted fun on “Everybody Get Along” ft. Riley Green, gratitude for the simpler things in life on “Better Slow,” and more.
The Project Includes 8 Tracks
While sitting down with Country Now to discuss the new project, Moore shared that his hope with this set of songs is that it provides listeners with a place to safely feel whatever they may need – comfort, joy, or an opportunity for reflection.
Features Something For Everyone
“I hope, just like the rest of our stuff, it’s more songs that can help them. You know, the thing about country music, it can make you laugh when you need to do that or cry when you need to do that, or crank it up and open a beer when you wanna do that,” Moore told Country Now. “I think it’s another collection of songs that will be just like a buddy during those moments. I think there are songs for all of the above there, in terms of those things. So hopefully they dig it like they have our other stuff and I’m really proud of it, I know that. I think it’s really well done and you know, I would put our traditional country music up against anybody’s out there.”
While each song holds a unique story of its own, the project as a collective provides a surplus of fresh ideas and standout titles. Before unveiling the album, Moore set the tone with several previous releases including the title track, “With A Woman You Love,” as well as collaborations with Riley Green on “Everybody Get Along,” and his duet with Priscilla Block, “You, Me, And Whiskey.” The latter is currently Top 40 and climbing.
When it came time to compile the track list, Moore searched high and low for the best songs because “that’s what the fans deserve,” he shared. Moore served as a co-writer on all but one of the tracks.
“That’s the approach I’ve taken throughout my career. I’ve written the majority of my stuff, but not all of it because if somebody else’s song beats mine, then I’m totally fine with that,” he shared honestly. “But, you know, I’m a lyric guy. The lyrics have to be, to me, well-crafted and I really like unique ideas titles like ‘Stray Dog’ for example, that make you go, ‘I wonder what in the heck that’s about.’ And with songs that I don’t write that I record, the rule of thumb for me is, do I wish that I had written it? When I go, ‘damnit, how did I not come up with that?’ that’s usually something I end up recording.”
The Title Track Resonates With Him
The title track, “Stray Dog,” encompasses the country star’s straightforward feelings when it comes to being the person he wants to be. The narrative is a clever take on what it feels like to stick out from the crowd in a way that can sometimes feel as though you’re being looked down on for not following the same path.
“My producer came up with that title and I’m going, what in the world are we gonna do with that? But at the same time, I’ve always really enjoyed when song titles kind of jump off the page at you and you go, ‘I gotta hear that. I wonder what that’s about.’ So certainly, that does that, and for whatever reason…throughout my career I’ve kind of been labeled an outlaw, an outlier, non-conformist, or, I don’t know, however you wanna say it. I didn’t set out to do that, it just has become that. But we’ve been so lucky that radio, the fans, much of the industry have been so good to us for so many years to give us a bunch of hit songs and albums and all that kinda stuff. And for whatever reason, aspects of the industry have not really included us.”
It may appear difficult to be placed on the outskirts, but Moore has no regrets as he has focused on making the best decisions for himself and his family while also putting in the work to maintain his career.
Over the years, he’s racked up 11 No. 1 hits, toured arenas with sellouts and capacity shows, in addition to the radio and podcasting gigs he’s added on top of making music. In addition to being a musician, he still finds the time to be a full-time dad to his four kids in their Arkansas home.
“You look at like the award shows and on our podcast and social media and those kind of things, my fans are, which I appreciate them asking, but they’re like, ‘why aren’t you at the CMAs? Why aren’t you doing this on the ACM’s? I said, ‘well, they don’t ask me to be a part of it.’ And I’m just honest with my fans. I’m not gonna lie to ’em to protect anybody. And that’s not sour grapes, that’s just me being honest. It just is what it is. So that song kind of turned into an autobiographical anthem for me and I’m sure that whatever business the people listening to this song are in…I’m sure they’ve felt that way at some point in their career or their life or whatever.”
Touring With Priscilla Block
Justin Moore recently wrapped up his headlining tour with Priscilla Block. This trek kicked off on February 2 in Rapid City, SD, and came to an end on April 22 in Coralville, IA. He shared that fans can expect more dates from him and Block later on in the year.
Throughout the run, Moore shared that he was able to witness the “My Bar” singer’s natural stardom come to life.
“She sings great, her songs are well written, but she’s really, really good on stage. And that to me, you either kinda have that in you or you don’t and she’s got it,” he explained. “Whatever it is, she’s got it. You know, you hear people say that about certain people and she definitely has it.”
Moore already has a slew of dates scheduled for this year including appearances at festivals such as Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam (June 2), Bluewater Borderfest Music Festival (June 22), Freedom Fest Ohio (June 24) and more. He will also host a free album release show on May 4 before heading to Sacramento, CA on May 6.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.